Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Tomislav Karamarko commented on Saturday on Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic's offer to Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov to be the speaker of the new parliament if Bridge MPs backed the SDP-led coalition to form the new government, asking what gave Milanovic the right to publicly offer someone an office and saying that the HDZ was offering reforms.

Karamarko told reporters that Petrov responded well to Milanovic's offer by saying that it missed the point and that reforms were the most important thing to Bridge. Karamarko said Milanovic's offer was unacceptable.

Asked what the HDZ was offering Bridge to win its backing for forming the new government, Karamarko reiterated that his party was offering reforms on which it had been working for three years.

Reporters asked if the negotiations with Bridge were nearing completion and if it was correct that the HDZ had a parliamentary majority. "You know that as much as we do," he said, adding that the HDZ had written the response to Bridge's reform proposals and would send it to the party by Monday.

Asked why he thought Bridge would back the HDZ and not the SDP to form the government, Karamarko reiterated that he did not believe that someone would go against the will of two thirds of voters who wanted a change of government and that he trusted Bridge. "I trust those people, I'd like them to be compact, because we have been fighting all the time for them to stay compact. We don't have partial contacts with their people, we haven't try to destroy Bridge as Milanovic and his people have."

Asked if he expected the two ethnic minority MPs who did not back the SDP to form the government to back the HDZ, Mirko Raskovic of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) and Albanian MP Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj, Karamarko said they had not signed for anyone and that he appreciated that they had resisted pressure. He said the same went for the two MPs from Milan Bandic's slate.

He again would not say how many MPs the HDZ-led coalition was counting on, reiterating that it "absolutely" had the support of more than 59, which is how many seats it won parliament.

As for an HDZ press release which called on the State Prosecutor's Office (DORH) and the USKOK anti-corruption office to investigate if possible criminal activity in the work of Milanovic's government, Karamarko said there had been too many scandals in that government and that reporters should ask DORH for the evidence and not the HDZ.

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